president Jacob Zuma has urged young South Africans to stay away from drugs and alcohol as the country joins the world in commemorating the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

In a statement here Sunday, President Zuma also appealed to those who are already addicted to seek treatment.

“The abuse of drugs is threatening to destroy many families. Some parents live in fear of their children who terrorise them and neighbours, due to the abuse of nyaope, whoonga, cocaine, heroin and other drugs,” he said.

“We appeal to our youth to say no to drugs. Those who are already addicted should seek treatment,” said the President, adding that the government was building treatment centres in every province to make treatment accessible.

Indications are that between 7.5 per cent and 31 per cent of South Africans have an alcohol problem or are at risk. As for drugs, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) report of 2014 indicated that more than 270,000 South African citizens were defined as problem drug users.

President Zuma thanked those young people who have sought treatment. The report from the South African Community Epidemiology Network on Drug Use indicates that the number of young people who received treatment between January and June 2015 was at 3,677 in Gauteng Province for people aged 10 to 39.

The number of people in Western Cape Province who received treatment between the same months was 2,869, while the number in the provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga was 93. In Eastern Cape Province, the number was 290.

“We urge parents and communities to encourage more drug users to seek help. We also welcome and support the campaign by the Congress of South African Students (COSAS) against alcohol abuse and the wearing of school uniforms in taverns,” said President Zuma.

He added that local authorities should not grant liquor licences to outlets which sell liquor to school children, or who operate near schools or who want to target schoolchildren as customers.

“We also urge communities to report drug lords and drug peddlers so that they can be stopped from destroying our children,” said the President.

In his message, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said: “On this International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, I call on countries and communities to continue to improve the lives of everyone blighted by drug abuse by integrating security and public safety with a heightened focus on health, human rights, and sustainable development.”

Source: Nam News Network